My husband made me an offer on Saturday. He offered to take the kids to the farm over one of the two weekends between when we return from Disney and when he travels to Canada. He offered to take them for the weekend alone. He offered to let me stay at home and have a girl’s weekend (or a “me” weekend).
I had two reactions simultaneously. One was “Wow, that sounds incredible, I haven’t had a weekend alone at the house since I was pregnant.” Two was “No. Way!”
Here is the currently reality. I am exhausted. Dead dog, slack jawed, bone weary tired. I have had to travel a couple of times this summer, but none of them involved relaxing. Instead they were up early, out late, meeting and greeting the whole time. One even involved wiping me out emotionally. Since those trips, the kids have been coming into our bedroom in the middle of the night. Regardless of whether or not we get them successfully re-transplanted into their rooms, I am still up two to three times during the night. One friend told me it was more harmful to get no deep sleep than to stay up late and wake up early. I have a book manuscript due in four weeks. It has to be finished because the release date is February and launch parties are already being discussed. But I don’t have anything left to say. And my schedule this fall doesn’t look to let up.
However, as a result of all of that frenzy, I also feel incredibly guilty. Mommy guilt. I should be spending more time with my kids. I would prefer not to travel, especially on the weekends which are my singular uninterrupted hours with them. They cry when I leave for work. This morning the little lady WAILED. I felt intensely guilty having to pull her off my lap in the car to drive away. Every morning, the kids ask, “no Maria today?” (Our nanny.) They love Maria, but they really love mommy/daddy days. The little lady prays at night that “mommy and daddy no go bye-bye.” The boys give me sad faces and big sloppy kisses and hugs before I leave as I promise repeatedly to be home that afternoon.
I do not feel guilty about working. It is something my family needs, and it is something I need. I would be a bad mommy if I didn’t work. Heck, I am a lunatic on the weekends half the time because they are so trying right now at two years old and defiant. But I do feel guilty about ANYTHING that is not me going into the office during the weekday. Drinks with the girls once that month? Guilty. Firm dinner for summer interns? Guilty. Book trip to Chicago? Guilty. A weekend ALONE with no actual technical conflict to take me away from my kids? Really guilty.
I actually don’t know what I will decide to do. I have not decided. While I initially told my husband no, he told me to think about it. I will. But the other thing I will think about is being exhausted versus being guilty. Neither of them make me a better person and neither one reflect me relying on my faith.
I spent some time this morning trying to find something scriptural to say about mommy guilt. There isn’t really anything, but there is this: the Bible says there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8), it says the Lord won’t accuse and He’s removed our sins as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103), it offers that when we lie down our sleep will be sweet (Proverbs 3), and Christ tells us that if we are weary and burdened we should come to Him and He will give us rest (Matthew 11).
So I will trust that. And I will not make this decision out of exhaustion or guilt.